Cimas, one of the largest medical aid societies in the country, which has over 400 000 members, had a net surplus of $5.6 billion during the year ended June, a drastic improvement from a surplus of $966 million the previous year.
The huge surplus probably explains why doctors are currently at loggerheads with medical aid societies and are now charging patients upfront because of the delays in receiving payment from medical aid societies.
Medical aid societies are reported to have objected to the new consultation fees being charged by doctors saying they are too high. Medical aid societies are ostensibly non-profit organisations.
The society earned $19.5 billion from contributions and spent $17.1 billion remaining with a surplus of $2.5 billion. The medical aid operation only had a surplus of $19.1 million the previous year.
The medical services operation incurred a deficit of $249.6 million. It earned $872.1 million but spent $1.1 billion. Properties had a surplus of $23.3 million.
The bulk of the income was from investments. They brought in a hefty $3.3 billion.
The Zimbabwe Medical Association, which represents private doctors, has complained that medical aid societies are making such huge surpluses because they delay paying the doctors while at the same time earning income from investing member’ contributions which should be paid to doctors.
Medical aid societies have been reviewing member contributions every quarter. Cimas says tariffs increased by an average of 243 percent in the 12 months to June while at the same time contributions from members went up by 210 percent. Co-payments of 20 percent were introduced from April.
The society also says it had introduced a new scheme for those with HIV/Aids. Called the Chronic Disease Add-On, those with HIV/Aids can access anti-retroviral drugs and have access to all laboratory tests. It says its members dropped slightly from 411 135in 2002 to 408 705 at the end of June.